“Mom, Why Do You Love Me So?”

I looked strangely nervous in response to an everyday ‘Mom’ question like the one that was just put forth to me. I could feel the sweat on my brow in spite of the ceiling fan blades rotating at full speed. My hands were bizarrely cold and numb on a hot Sunday morning resulting in the loss of my sense of touch.

“Mom, why do you love me so?”

When I was 8, Mom yelled, “Arun! Stop behaving like a girl! You’re a boy!” I mumbled to myself, “Mom, why do you hate me so?”

When I was 12, Mom yelled, “Arun! You are not getting another piece of that cake! Look at how fat you’ve become!” I mumbled to myself, “Mom, why do you hate me so?”

When I was 16, Mom yelled, “Arun! Get off your brother’s back now! Go to your room this instant! I mumbled to myself, “Mom, why do you hate me so?”

When I was 20, Mom yelled, “Arun! Why can’t you be as dedicated and hardworking as your brother is? I am so disappointed in you!” I mumbled to myself, “Mom, why do you hate me so?”

When I was 24, Mom yelled, “Arun! Just because you’re earning a monthly income that doesn’t mean you forget how to respect your parents!” I mumbled to myself, “Mom, why do you hate me so?”

When I was 27, it all changed for me.

“So, what do you want for breakfast?” Mom asked me while she performed the daily chore of making the bed.

I looked strangely nervous in response to an everyday ‘Mom’ question like the one that was just put forth to me. I could feel the sweat on my brow in spite of the ceiling fan blades rotating at full speed. My hands were bizarrely cold and numb on a hot Sunday morning resulting in the loss of my sense of touch. My heart beat so fast, I felt like it would come up my throat any moment then. I gulped hard and finally had the courage to say, “Mom, there is something that I’ve wanted to tell you.” She immediately looked towards me. That was the first time I had eye contact with her since that morning. That very instant I sheepishly shifted my gaze to the ground. “Please understand this does not change me as a person….” I began wailing continuing to stare towards the ground. “I’m gay!” I randomly blurted out in between sobs. “You’re gay?” Mom instantaneously asked me with utter surprise. I could see, she began tearing up too. She caught hold of my hand and sobbed, “Why are your hands cold? It is ok, Arun! I only wish you told me earlier. You are my son at the end of the day. I love you no matter what.” Did my mom just say that? Did she just accept the fact that her son was gay in a patriarchal society where the man in the house is supposed to be a man and nothing remotely effeminate? To my utter disbelief, she just did. What followed this unexpected bizarre reaction from Mom was a 10 minute hug, chunky tears and a brief lesson for Mom on homosexuality in urban India.

As soon as Mom stepped out of the room, I mumbled to myself, “Mom, why do you love me so?”

About the guest author

Arun Mirchandani

Arun Mirchandani was born in 1982 in South Korea. He currently resides in Mumbai. An alumnus from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Arun is currently employed with a leading MNC bank as a part of their human resources team. ‘You Are Not Alone’ is his first novel.